Lionel Messi has aimed barbed criticism at Eric Abidal after the Barcelona technical secretary appeared to accuse some of the team’s players of having forced Ernesto Valverde’s dismissal with their attitude and lack of effort on the pitch.
Valverde was sacked in January and replaced by Quique Setien.
“Many players were not satisfied or didn’t work hard and there was also an internal communication issue,” Abidal had told Sport on Tuesday as he gave details behind Valverde’s departure from Camp Nou.
“The relationship between manager and dressing room has always been good, but there are things that I can smell as a former player. I told the club what I thought and had to make a decision,” the former Barca player added.
However, in a twist no one saw coming, the Argentine forward took to Instagram to hit back at former teammate Abidal and stressed that both players and board are responsible for the team’s situation.
“I honestly do not like doing these things, but I think everyone has to be responsible for their tasks and take care of their decisions,” posted Messi with a screenshot of an article from Sport about Abidal’s comments.
“The players are responsible for what happens on the pitch and we are also the first to recognise when we’re not doing well.
“Those responsible for the sports management must also assume their responsibilities and, above all, take ownership of the decisions they make.
“Finally, I think that when talking about players, names should be given.
“Because otherwise, we are getting everyone dirty and feeding things that are said and are not true.”
Messi’s comments could ignite a civil war in Barca’s boardroom and turn fans against club president Josep Maria Bartomeu who is seeking reelection in 2021.
By calling out the management, Barca’s all-time leading scorer appears to be criticising the club’s underwhelming recruitment in recent years – a function that falls under the purview of Abidal.